Danny Cowley's mixed verdict on Arsenal loanee Miguel Azeez's rare Portsmouth start

It represented only his second start in more than two months at Fratton Park.

Monday, 8th November 2021, 4:55 am

And Danny Cowley believes Miguel Azeez demonstrated ‘some good moments’ in his rare Pompey outing.

The 19-year-old replaced Reeco Hackett as one of two changes in Pompey’s side for Saturday’s visit of Harrow Borough.

The outcome was some promising moments from Azeez, particularly in the first half, during a laboured 1-0 FA Cup victory over the Southern League Premier South side.

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And Cowley has given his thoughts on the Arsenal youngster’s third outing in a Blues shirt.

He told The News: ‘Reeco has had a bit of a tight hamstring.

‘He had a scan on Thursday, it was clear, but we can’t afford to lose anyone, we’ve got 16 fit players – and Miguel’s been fighting for that opportunity.

‘I thought he did okay against Harrow, some good moments, some good touches, we know he's going to be a good player.

Miguel Azeez was given his second Pompey start in Saturday's 1-0 victory over Harrow Borough. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘He needed some more penetration, to make more runs into the box, affect the goal more, show a bit more aggression, intensity and physicality against the goal.

‘Miguel played in the number 10 position and the opportunity for him was to be able to go and get close to John, receive behind the opponent’s midfield, try to get them on the back foot and front facing.

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‘We know he spent a lot of his life at Arsenal playing against deep-lying teams sitting – we thought Harrow Borough would be the same – and we know he’s got very good quality in and around the goal.

‘Miguel got into some good positions, yet didn't quite get off his shots or final pass.’

Azeez was substituted in the 60th minute, with Gassan Ahadme introduced.

Cowley has revealed the decision was tactical rather than the youngster showing signs of injury or potential fatigue.

Having not been called up for England under-20 duty, he will remain at Fratton Park training this week.

Although it remains to be seen whether Azeez is in the frame for Tuesday evening’s encounter with Crystal Palace under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy.

Pompey’s head coach added: ‘Miguel coming off on Saturday was just tactical really.

‘We wanted two forwards on the pitch for any crosses into the box. Miguel wasn't in the box and we wanted him in there, so we put Gassan on.

‘We know Gassan is a really good finisher from crosses, so it made sense to bring him on.’

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